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Scene In Detroit: Green and Dirty

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Photo Caption: Volunteers gather for a planting with The Greening of Detroit Photo by Amelia Kanan)

Photo Caption: Volunteers gather for a planting with The Greening of Detroit Photo by Amelia Kanan)

By Amelia Kanan, CBS Detroit Blogger

Detroit is in bloom! Spring, which is feeling a bit like summer, is here and what better way to celebrate then getting down and dirty?

The Greening of Detroit welcomes you to get dirty with them every Saturday morning (locations dependent on date) planting trees around the city of Detroit.

You don’t need to have a green thumb, they will instruct you and your team in the process of planting a tree. You may be surprised how involved it is but don’t be intimidated. As long as you aren’t afraid to dig, meet new people and grunt while you push a big tree into its new home, you’ll be great.

The Greening of Detroit is a non-profit organization that has been around since 1989. They’ve grown into a well- established foundation that influences the city’s landscaping plans, is a resource for urban farmers, employs seasonally and trains people for jobs in the areas of forestry, agriculture and landscaping.

The Greening has also teamed up with Groupon Grassroots (a philanthropic venture by Groupon.com) to sponsor an environmental summer camp for kids in Detroit. Along with the start-up pledge of $1,000 from Groupon, donations will make it possible for low-income youth to participate in local day camp called Camp Greening.

While participating in themed activities like scavenger hunts and crafts, children will learn about ecology and the environment. As of April 17th, there were five days left to sponsor a child for only $10. Side note — 100 percent of your donation goes DIRECTLY to The Greening of Detroit. Wow. I feel like Sally Struthers.

If you have a free Saturday morning and are interested in greening your city, you can check the event calendar where it can lead you to sign up for a date that works best for you. The Greening of Detroit is accommodating to groups for businesses looking to build morale with their employees while doing local good. Flying solo is great too, you’ll be partnered up with a group or partner because it’s much easier to plant a tree with some help.

Although the time slot is 9 a.m.-1 p.m., it’s common to be finished well before then. Due to the laborious work, bringing children under the age of 13 is not encouraged. The work is sweat inducing and your pants may be prone to grass stains so don’t wear your finest threads. Shovels, rakes, buckets and water are provided but it’s a good idea to bring gardening gloves and your own water supply.

Need more incentive? If you volunteer a few times over the season, you receive a discount at certain nurseries.

Happy greening!

Amelia Kanan is freelance writer/photographer and a returning native of Detroit. A graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, she wrote for an Emmy nominated sketch comedy show and pursued her passion for documentary filmmaking in Los Angeles. An incomplete list of her loves: books, human rights, improv, the smell of new shoes, talking to strangers, libraries, France, yoga, furniture, music, sociology and pushing the limits.

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